Born in Inkerman in 1927, Ralph Hurley's hockey and skating skills were developed in his tiny hometown. He got his first taste of organized, competitive hockey in Toronto in 1940 at the age of 14 where he went to work in a war plant. He played on three teams in Toronto, the highlight of these being the Corpus Christi midget team, an affiliate of the junior hockey powerhouse Toronto St. Mikes.
In 1942 he returned home and started a career with the CPR at Bedell Station, just south of Kemptville. From 1942-47 he captained the Inkerman Rockets, during which time they won five ODHA championships. In the 1946-47 season, Hurley captained the Rockets to an amazing 36 consecutive wins, but lost in the Memorial Cup finals.
In 1947, Hurley joined a handful of players to represent Canada as the Ottawa Allstars at an international tournament in Wembly, England, the first Canadian hockey team to cross the Atlantic in an airplane.
In the 1947-48 season, Hurley helped form the Kemptville Royals and together they won three ODHA championships in the St. Lawrence Senior League.
In 1950 he took a leave of absence from the CPR and joined one of the first contingents of Canadians in Europe to play hockey as captain of the Dundee Tigers in the Scottish Hockey League. This same year, he turned down an offer from the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League to turn pro. Instead, after a one-year stint in Scotland, Hurley returned to the area to become playing coach of the Brockville Magedomas. With Ralph Hurley at the helm, and at the peak of his playing career, the Magedomas won three consecutive ODHA championships.He spent one more season in Scotland (1954-55) as captain of the Dunfermline Vikings before returning home where he helped reorganize the Kemptville Royals for the 1955-56 season when the team took the league championship as well as the Citizen Shield. In 1956 Ralph turned his talents to coaching, where he would spend more than 20 years as one of the most colourful and successful amateur hockey mentors throughout Eastern Ontario.